TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Traffic navigates through the intersection of 18th Street and Richmond Avenue on Sunday afternoon. According to data provided by Manitoba Public Insurance, this intersection saw 268 collisions between 2008 and 2012.
There was on average more than one crash per week at 18th Street and Richmond Avenue between 2008 and 2012, topping the list of Brandon intersections with the most collisions, according to insurance data.
Manitoba Public Insurance data shows the Brandon intersections with the most vehicle crashes during a five-year period between 2008-12, the most recent numbers available. All 10 of the intersections are along 18th Street or Victoria Avenue. For an interactive version of this map, including the 28 pedestrian-involved crashes that were reported to MPI during the same period, see http://bdnsun.ca/BdnCrashes12. (GRANT HAMILTON/BRANDON SUN)
Combined, just the five ‘crashiest’ intersections are responsible for between 150-200 reports to MPI every year — that’s more than three a week. (GRANT HAMILTON/BRANDON SUN)
The intersection saw 268 crashes in that time, according to data provided to the Brandon Sun by Manitoba Public Insurance. But police say none of Brandon’s intersections are particularly dangerous.
"I don’t see dangerous intersections in our town," said Brandon Police Service Sgt. Kevin Loewen, who heads the force’s traffic section. "We don’t have confusing intersections."
The top four intersections were along 18th Street at Victoria Avenue, Park Avenue and Princess Avenue but that doesn’t come as a shock to Loewen — with more traffic comes more crashes.
"The traffic flow on 18th Street has increased exponentially over the last few years," he said.
"I hesitate to use to the term ‘rush hour’ but we’re getting to the point where we’re getting rush-hour-like traffic in that area."
Loewen pointed to the Corral Centre north of the city as the main reason for the periodic bottlenecking, but no intersection north of the railway tracks cracked the top 10 list, likely because there is much less east-west traffic near the Corral Centre.
Loewen also referred to 18th Street’s three-lane Daly Overpass as a traffic sore spot, which has garnered the attention of provincial and federal representatives for redevelopment.
Rosser Avenue and 18th Street just south of the overpass came in at No. 10 with 73 collisions between 2008 and 2012.
Ninth Street and 10th Street at Victoria Avenue had a combined total of 160 crashes in that time and the newly opened drive-through coffee shop at 10th Street could be cause for concern, Loewen said.
"Definitely it could become a hazard," he said. "I wish them the best in their business endeavors, but I hope they don’t get that busy in their drive-through because that would undoubtedly create a significant problem for traffic flow."
Loewen said most intersections in Brandon aren’t dangerous but the biggest issue for city drivers is four-way stops. Many drivers simply don’t know when to go, which results in small fender-benders, he said.
The data provided from MPI doesn’t include small incidents that don’t require an insurance claim.
Police used to get calls for nearly every car crash, whatever the severity, but legislation passed several years ago that states police should only be called if there’s a suspected traffic infraction, injuries or if it’s a criminal matter.
"We used to get inundated with calls," Loewen said. "Many, many accidents that would historically require police report we now don’t even hear about."
According to MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley, about 40 per cent of all collisions in the province occur in an intersection, and 75 per cent of those happen in Winnipeg.
"We are continually looking at many ways to reduce collisions," Smiley said, "whether it be through public awareness campaigns or whether it be through partnership with police."
This month, for instance, MPI put forward $180,000 towards targeted distracted driving enforcement in the province, which includes a partnership with Brandon police.
"Those are some of the strategies MPI will use in terms of reducing collisions on our roads, reducing injuries and fatalities," Smiley said.
Meanwhile, MPI also provided vehicle-versus-pedestrian data between 2008 and 2012 which suggests 18th Street and Louise Avenue and First Street and McTavish Avenue are the most dangerous places to cross the street in the city. Each intersection had three incidents over the four-year period that were serious enough to make an MPI claim.
"Any incident involving a pedestrian has the possibility of being extremely catastrophic and the fact that the pedestrian doesn’t have a ton of steel protecting them," Smiley said.
In the case of 18th Street and Louise, in front of Brandon University, Loewen again pointed to 18th Street’s congestion as the reason for the pedestrian injuries.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 14, 2014